If we try to be good and righteous and pull out the weeds, we become weeds ourselves!
S1:E37 EPISODE SUMMARY
“In gathering the weeds, you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both grow together…” If we would only pay attention to what Jesus is telling us to do, we wouldn’t need to worry so much about that scary stuff at the end!
For the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Adam and Lindsey reflect on one of the more seemingly frightening parables of Jesus, the Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat (Matthew 13: 24-30 and 36-43). There’s even an explanation that seems pretty straightforward. But, as with everything Jesus says and does, it’s subversive, world-turning, and infinitely better news than it appears to be at first glance!
The word Jesus uses for “weeds” refers to a type of weed that resembled the wheat so closely that it was hard to tell them apart. When we try to root out evil, we also may have a hard time recognizing it. Scripture and history both testify to humanity’s poor track record when it comes to judgment. Scapegoats have been condemned, whole peoples have been marginalized, tribes and ethnic groups have warred against each other.
These words of Jesus recall the utter indiscrimination of war and violence, the all-consuming cycles that spiral out of control. Bombs don’t distinguish between the innocent and the guilty, and what do those words even mean in the context of war when each side loses its distinctions in the violence? That kind of doubling where distinctions are eroded is what Jesus is referring to. If we try to be good and righteous and pull out the weeds, we become weeds ourselves!
So, Jesus tells us not to. Rooting out evil with violence is not our job.
So Jesus will root out the evil himself, right? He’ll send heavenly armies to burn evildoers, right? Doesn’t it say so right in the text?
Don’t be so sure. After all, these words are all being spoke by the one who was himself judged to be a weed! Jesus himself went to the places of weeping and gnashing teeth, to the poor and the marginalized, to the sick and the suffering. He went to heal them, and was himself cast out and killed. And… death did not have the last word.
If we are to follow Jesus, but we are expressly told not to root out evil, then what are we to do instead? What is Jesus doing instead? Adam and Lindsey dive deep into the weeds and the wheat.
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